Absconding priest convicted for embezzling 3.8 million euros arrested

A 45-year-old priest was arrested at the Larissa intercity bus station on Monday evening in a suspected attempt to flee justice as an appeals court in the central Greek city prepared to re-sentence him for embezzling 3.8 million euros.

According to reports on Tuesday, the priest was with his wife when police tracked him down after a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to reappear at the court of appeals for sentencing last Wednesday.

The defendant was not in police custody for the duration of his trial and was able to slip away during a recess in proceedings. Earlier, another three defendants linked to the case were released.

The 45-year-old priest has already served eight years in prison after being convicted to life in 2020 for embezzling 3.8 million euros from the Greek state by skimming off the payroll accounts of the Metropolitan Church of Thessaly.

Larissa’s court of appeals reduced the sentence to 15 years, with time served, after ruling that there were insufficient grounds to convict the priest of the crimes of forgery and money-laundering.